What You Can Do to Prevent Employee Burnout

Morgan Grant

If you’ve ever been employed, you’re familiar with employee burnout. It feels exactly as it sounds – your edges that were once sharp are now dulled, you can’t bring yourself to care about the things you used to, and the sheer fact that you came into work this morning should warrant an award.

As an employer, you might wonder how you can help your employees avoid such a common workplace woe. Your best recipe for success is recognizing some of the main causes of burnout and what you can do to reignite your employees’ passion.


The Cause: Lack of Responsibility and Helicopter Management

Freedom and responsibility go a long way in the workplace. Being made to feel like a mindless paper-pusher, with no real meaningful responsibilities causes lack of motivation…putting an employee on auto-pilot.

The Fix: Challenge and Trust Your Employees

Praise your high performers and give them more responsibility. Think of your employees as investments that your company has made. It’s your job to double and triple those investments and make them more valuable over time. You hired smart employees, so use them.


The Cause: Lack of Change

Sometimes the cause of burnout can be as simple as boredom from routine. You want to retain your employees, but if nothing has changed in the 10 years they’ve been working, their job can lose its luster.

The Fix: Move Things Around

Although a quick fix doesn’t permanently fix larger problems, a simple change can help to keep things interesting. Try switching employee job roles for a few weeks, or have an employee shadow another employee in a different role. You can even ask experienced employees to take over projects or help refocus a team. However, if you overdo and overwhelm your employees with changes, it may have the opposite of the desired effect. A little newness goes a long way.


The Cause: Stress

Stress is the leading cause of many workplace issues. If your employees are forced to burn their fuel with zero breaks or pauses, it’s no wonder they’re feeling burned out. Being over-stressed because of workload, lack of resources, or workplace drama never produces good work. In fact, a report by Health Advocate states that one million employees miss work each day because of stress.

The Fix: Create a Supportive Environment

That statistic alone should motivate you to try to reduce preventable stress in your workplace. Create a supportive environment for your team and make them feel heard. Most of the elements that create stress can be solved by upper-management sitting down and simply listening to their employees.


The Cause: Lack of Reward and Acknowledgement

Why would an employee work tirelessly for you and your company without incentive to do so? Incentive creates motivation, and motivation creates good work. And although money is an important factor, verbal acknowledgement is just as valuable. Forbes states that 64% of working Americans leave their job because they don’t feel appreciated. 70% of working Americans say they receive zero praise or recognition on the job.

The Fix: Award Gratitude When Earned

Reward hard work. It can be as simple as telling someone they’ve done a good job when you feel they’ve really gone the extra mile. Many employers are so busy themselves that they simply forget to verbally acknowledge a person’s hard work. And if a certain employee has taken on more than their job description, made life easier since they’ve started working for you, and done it with a smile on their face, reward them with a better salary if you can. Good employees are not a dime a dozen. Do your best to keep them when you find them!


The Cause: A Bad Fit

Don’t mistake an unhappy employee for a burned-out one. A burned-out employee is usually happy and passionate about their job. But lately you’ve noticed they’ve lost their usual pep and are just going through the motions. This is an employee experiencing burnout. An unhappy employee is one who no matter what you try to do, always has a bad attitude.

The Fix: Re-evaluate

If it’s a bad fit, and not just an exhausted employee, you may want to sit down and reassess their position at your company. Maybe it’s as simple as moving them to another team where their skills will be better used. But if the issue is bigger than burnout, the solution may need to be as well.


The best way to fight employee burnout and reignite passion in your workplace is just a matter of identifying the cause, and changing as much as you can to fix the issue. Being an employer is filled with ups and downs, and sometimes a burned-out employee can be easy to miss. But if you’re reading this article, the good news is you’ve already taken the first step in prevention – looking for a solution.